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Eastern Eight Community Development helps make home ownership possible

August 9th, 2012 8:29 am by Marsha Salley

Eastern Eight Community Development helps make home ownership possible

The house on Center Street was renovated through the program.

The slogan for the Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation reads "We have apps for life" - and goes on to say that its "mission is to fulfill housing needs for the low-to-moderate income families."

Tucked away on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the office is fairly low profile but nevertheless one of the busiest nonprofits in the region.

"We represent eight counties in Eastern Tennessee, including Sullivan, Washington and Carter, where we are the most active," said Jill Salyers, the public relations and marketing director for the organization. Since the collapse of the so-called housing bubble in 2008,many Americans have experienced bankruptcy or losing their homes, or faced a credit-tightened market where home ownership was out of the question.

Community development organizations have since become vital to either keep people in their existing homes or help them find something decent and affordable.

"Not everyone can or should own their home," Salyers said. "Some people don't want the upkeep or their lifestyle is too transient. Eastern Eight has multiple programs to help people in the region with a home purchase or find a rental that is adequate for their needs."

All of their programs are designed to help a buyer or renter understand the way the market works, or to help repair their own financial situation. Classes include home buyer education, foreclosure prevention, maintenance tips and more.

As valuable as the educational classes are, the most significant service they provide is to make homes available where there are none.

"When a client needs a home to buy or rent and we identify some suitable neighborhoods or areas, we will renovate a home to meet their needs. Or we will build a home if none exists," Salyers said. "We want to help the clients but we also want to preserve neighborhoods. Sometimes all it takes is renovating a home or two in one neighborhood to encourage other people to move in. It establishes a momentum that keeps neighborhoods stable. Three new subdivisions are currently under development (located in Elizabethton, Johnson City and Kingsport), which will collectively provide 120-plus new homeownership opportunities."

Eastern Eight is also a licensed retailer for manufactured housing, which coupled with new construction and renovation of existing, offers potential homebuyers the widest possible choices of home ownership opportunities.

Every phase of Eastern Eight's work requires a community member partnering with them - from realtors who help clients find homes, to government leaders who identify neighborhoods that need a boost, to the past client who tells their friend about their experience. There's a lot of compassion and practical help for people at Eastern Eight.

"We target helping people land that starter home. We learned that one of our largest demographics is assisting 40-plus divorced women - some with children. They need that second chance to get on their feet, " Salyers said.

Similar identified groups are young couples and individuals renting for very long periods of time.

"We want everyone to know that we can help them get in a home that is right for them for wherever they are in their life," Salyers stressed.

Eastern Eight Community Development's address is 1140 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Kingsport. For more information, make an appointment at 423-302-9806.

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